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Search Engine Optimisation

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What is search engine optimisation (and why should you care?)

The SEO basics are simple to grasp. It involves matching the keywords in your website content to the ‘key words’ that people are typing into search engines such as Google.

What is a keyword?

Think about how you’d search for information about a new digital camera using the web. You might type in best digital cameras. Or, if you know the make and model you’re interested in, you could type in Panasonic Lumix FS16 review.

All of these are ‘key words’, aka keywords. Search engines aim to match what you type into the search box to web pages that best answer your query.

SEO is the process of optimising your web pages so that they will be found when people type keywords into a search engine.

How keywords are used

For example, if you want your website to show up in the list of search results when somebody types in therapist in Manchester, you need to include the words therapist in Manchester in one (or more) places, such as...

  • the ‘title tag’ of each website page (the words that appear right at the top of the window)
  • your headings or subheadings
  • within a paragraph, especially in the first or last sentence
  • in image captions
  • in links to other pages throughout your website

To increase relevance, you should also include variations of your keyword phrase. In this case: therapy in Manchester, Manchester therapist or counselling in Manchester.

The secret to effective SEO

The secret to good SEO is to match the words in your website with what people are actually searching for. You can get a glimpse into the mind of Google searchers by using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Load up the Keyword Tool and type your keyword into the box at the top. We’ll use therapist in Manchester again for this example. Type in the code shown to retrieve a list of keyword ideas based on this keyword phrase.

The keyword ideas will show you what people have been searching for on a monthly basis, globally and locally (UK). You can instantly see the popularity of your chosen keyword phrase and other similar phrases. In this example, these include:

  • therapy Manchester
  • therapist Manchester
  • counselling Manchester
  • counselling
  • manchester therapist
  • counselling in Manchester

 

Choosing the right keywords

Not only does this give you a good insight into the popularity of your keyword phrase, but it might also indicate keyword phrases that are better and could potentially attract more visitors.

For example, according to the Keyword Tool data (at time of writing), more people are searching for the phrase therapy Manchester than therapist Manchester or therapist in Manchester.

Consequently, therapy Manchester might prove to be a better keyword phrase to include in your website text. Ideally, you should choose a primary keyword phrase for each page of your website.

Be sure to use that phrase whenever you link to your page from another page in your site. Interlinking your pages in this way is also great for boosting your SEO.